A surprise resolution introduced by Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Shoemaker at Monday night's City Council budget meeting proposes closure of the 51-year-old Korah library branch at Northern Community Centre.
"I would rather see two amazing library branches in our city than an underfunded three-branch operation," Shoemaker told SooToday after the meeting was cancelled at 6:03 p.m. because of an electrical outage downtown.
He asked that $214,810, the annual cost of operating the branch library at 556 Goulais Ave., be removed from Sault Ste. Marie Public Library's request for a $341,871 budget increase.
The Ward 3 councillor said he thought City Council intended for the branch to be closed when it decided 27 months ago to close the Churchill Plaza branch library.
"I always took council's direction in 2016 to be that we would be consolidating the Korah and Churchill branches into a single northern branch," Shoemaker said.
"Apparently the library had a different understanding. What I am now proposing is we reduce the allocation they get by the same amount as the Korah operating budget. It would fulfil council's previous wishes."
"While my motion proposes reducing the library's preliminary increase request, it still sees them getting $215,000 more than they did in 2018. This recognizes both an inflationary increase as well as additional operating funds for the new Northern Branch."
Other budget-related resolutions introduced Monday by Councillor Shoemaker:
- be it resolved that council direct staff to extend the debt repayment schedule of the LED lighting conversion from a nine-year repayment schedule to a 14-year repayment schedule for a reduction of $440,000 in the 2019 municipal budget
- be it resolved that council re-allocate the $40,000 requested by the Safe Communities Partnership to the Sault Ste. Marie Museum operating budget increase. This represents no change in the slated increase in the 2019 municipal budget
- be it resolved that council direct staff to divide the slated increase to the capital from current budget ($262,000) over 2019 and 2020 at a savings of $131,000 to the 2019 municipal budget
- be it resolved that council reduce the miscellaneous construction budget by $50,000 in 2019 providing a savings of $50,000 in the 2019 municipal budget
The postponed budget meeting will resume Tuesday, with councillors trying to reduce a preliminary budget calling for a 3.57 per cent increase in municipal taxes.
It will be livestreamed by SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.